Following heated public comments, Glenview Plan Commission moves to recommend green light for development at Willow and Pfingsten roads

Chicago Tribune 1 month ago

The Glenview Plan Commission recommended approval Thursday of the proposed development at the corner of Willow and Pfingsten roads with some additional stipulations, although the development faces opposition from residents and a neighborhood group.

The developer has met all zoning code requirements with no variances, Chairman Steven Bucklin said during the Plan Commission meeting.

Commissioners 5-1 to recommend the project proposal to the Village Board. Commissioner Brian Duff was the one dissenting vote and Commissioner Michael Korman was absent.

GW Properties is proposing a redevelopment of the 8.55 acres of land at 2660 Pfingsten Road to build a 35,000 square-foot grocery store and three retail buildings on the north side of the property, as well as six single family homeson the property’s south side.

The Village Board will make the final decision on the plan. While the Plan Commission recommends that trustees approve it, the commissioners added conditions that developers agreed to meet, based on feedback from the public.

The meeting Thursday, which was the third Plan Commission meeting to address the development, was attended by about 80 people.

Residents and other stakeholders who spoke at the meeting said their concerns about the intensity of the development and the traffic haven’t been addressed. Traffic at the intersection of Willow and Pfingsten roads is already congested and the development will only make it worse, many of the residents said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is planning improvements to that intersection in 2020, according to village officials, but some residents said they were concerned because plans aren’t finalized.

Sixteen people spoke and lamented such issues as storm water management, traffic flow, the timing of deliveries and whether or not trucks had enough room to safely maneuver.

Several brought up the existence of a protected wetland on the property, though village Planning Manager Jeff Rogers said that would be determined during the permitting process. It’s unlikely to be considered “jurisdictional” wetland by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, so it wouldn’t stop the development, Rogers said.

Resident Carol Sullivan said she’s concerned about too much traffic right in front of the grocery store where pedestrians need to cross and pointed out areas where she believes trucks don’t have enough room to maneuver. She urged the Plan Commission to reject the site plan.

“Many of us moved to Glenview to get away from the dense retail and heavy traffic of the city,” Sullivan said. “We live in Glenview because Glenview offers a higher quality of life.”

Kate Schick said her children have to cross Pfingsten to get to Maple and Willowbrook schools and she’s concerned about safety issues with traffic.

“The crossing guard is very sporadic,” Schick said. “Even when we did (have a crossing guard), my son a few years ago witnessed a crossing guard almost get hit because cars just don’t stop on Pfingsten.”

Aihong Yu, another resident, said she believes the development is relying too much on IDOT improvements to enhance an already congested intersection. If it goes through, the net benefit of the upgrades would become “zero” for the residents, she said.

“Yes, we are emotional, the emotion is high here,” Yu acknowledged. "We’re very professional, reasonable, and we have worked with the village and the developer. We have studied the traffic study, studied every version of this development plan line by line, word by word, so we’re not just speaking out of emotion.”

Some of the comments were spirited as a few residents accused developers of acting only in their own interest. Members of the developer’s team, at times, covered their eyes while listening to residents.

One resident, Randy Silver, turned to look at the developers and said, “Sir, go, leave our neighborhood, we do not want your project.”

Susan Isenberg, who also lives in Glenview, told the Plan Commission that residents pay commissioners’ salaries and, therefore, the wishes of the residents should be the priority.

“I know that I’m the developer here and this is all for my benefit and whatnot, but I want to point out that this project is a culmination of a lot of people that would be involved,” Mitch Goltz of GW Properties said.

Al McAndrew, told Bucklin that he was “playing Hitler” and asked him to resign, before two members of the audience guided McAndrew away from the microphone and walked him back to his seat.

After hearing public comments, Commissioner Linda Kreer Witt called for specific conditions to be added to the final site plan memo that was to provided to the Village Board. The stipulations included access to the parking lot north of the Pfingsten Road being “in-only,”delivery and garbage hours limited to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the developer working with village staff to minimize truck turning ratios – including increasing the Willow Road entrance by 5 feet, and an 8-foot fence be considered for the south side of the lot.

In addition, Witt added that the village will require signs about permitted turning, possibly to include a “no left turn” at the Willow Road exit. The memo also called for the developer to work to resolve the wetlands issue during the permitting process, and addressed trash enclosures and a snow removal plan, among other requests.

In advance of the meeting, the developer updated the site plan to include IDOT recommendations, including creating a right-in, right-out entrance and exit from Willow Road and relocating it to the middle of the north lot line, according to village documents.

There was also a revised traffic impact study.Also, stormwater detention and public storm sewer improvements were proposed.

Besides the grocery store, site tenants could also include a locally owned coffee shop, restaurants, a hair salon, a specialty fitness center, a dental studio and an urgent care facility, among others, developers said.

Brendan Reedy, of CBRE, said the commercial real-estate company and retail advisory group received a “flood” of interest from retail tenants over the past 10 months.

Bucklin said he had concerns about traffic within the site and outside of it, but that the developers had met all of the requirements.

“They have changed their plans, adjusted their plans, spent time and effort to make those changes that we, as the Plan Commission and the public has asked for. They’ve done it,” Bucklin said. “I find it hard to take a look at that and say ‘sorry, too bad.’ … Don’t hate us if we vote for it, but in the same sense, we’ve heard what you’ve had to say and I think every commissioner here is moved by it.”

akim@chicagotribune.com

Twitter: @annakreports


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